Chronicle poll results: Is the Hamas/Israel war more unifying or divisive?
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Chronicle poll results: Is the Hamas/Israel war more unifying or divisive?

We asked our readers if the Hamas/Israel war was more unifying or more divisive for Diaspora Jews. Here's what they said.

Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Do you think the war between Hamas and Israel has been more of a unifying force or more of a dividing force for Diaspora Jews?” Of the 258 people who responded, 46% said more dividing; 44% said more unifying; and 10% said they weren’t sure. Comments were submitted by 58 people. A few follow.

Overall it’s been a unifying force, especially last fall. But now, Netanyahu’s handling of the war and the situation in Gaza are causing divisions.

Many Jews feel alone and isolated and are seeking commiseration with fellow Jews.

How could it be anything but dividing? Israel is the only country in the world that has to defend itself for defending itself. And, with all the press showing all the protesters against Israel, it does nothing but hurt worldwide Jewry.

It has caused a divide in my own family

It depends on the context. From my perspective as a community leader, I have seen greater unity. On college campuses, it has likely been more divisive, although it’s really difficult to tell because the media report only the division.

This is a tough call. If we move beyond opinion to facts and belief, as well as taking the long view, it has unified us. A lot of times that unity has been, unfortunately, in response to growing antisemitism associated with the war. It has been unifying none the less.

Unifying for the Jews who know that Israel is the only place we can feel at home.

The divide is between older and younger Jews. Many young Jews are misguided into believing the anti-Israel protests are not antisemitism in another form.

There is no question that Oct. 7 unified Diaspora Jewry and remained a unifying force throughout the country. The fissures began as Israel, rightfully so, defended itself as a country and in its search for the hostages. Netanyahu is a lightning bolt for Jews who are more vocal in their divisiveness. At the same time, the horrific rise in antisemitism, anti-Zionism and what is happening on college campuses and in city government, recaptures many dissenters.

I do think that, as the war drags on, it’s becoming — possibly — more divisive. And as the divisions within Israel again reach the loud forefront, our divisions too, increase. PJC

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